Monthly Archives: June 2012

Quotation for the week: Davis and Hersh

Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh’s book The Mathematical Experience was an early attempt to open the philosophy and culture of mathematics to a general audience. The authors don’t spare themselves or their colleagues from a little gentle ridicule in … Continue reading

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Solution to the cube dissection puzzle

The puzzle was to show that a cube cannot be dissected into a finite number of smaller cubes, all of different sizes. Here’s a slightly expanded version of the proof given in Littlewood’s Miscellany. The approach, as with many impossibility … Continue reading

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Quotation for the week: Alcott

We’re so used to the idea that primary school is all about learning to read, write and do sums that it’s startling to think it could ever have been otherwise. Nevertheless, in a provocative little article called “What is Mathematics … Continue reading

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Puzzle: perfectly dissecting a cube

This puzzle comes from the first chapter of Littlewood’s Miscellany (J. E. Littlewood, ed. B. Bolobás, CUP, 1986), which is entitled “Mathematics with minimum ‘raw materials’”. Littlewood quotes a very neat solution which is worth trying to discover for yourself… … Continue reading

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Quotation for the week: Poe

The writer Edgar Allen Poe is often described as the founder of detective fiction: the eccentric and superintelligent detective C. Auguste Dupin who appears in three of his short stories is recognisably an ancestor of Sherlock Holmes. Like Holmes, Dupin is somewhat conceited … Continue reading

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Quotation for the week: Chesterton

A fairly well-known remark this week, from the writer G. K. Chesterton — today remembered mostly as a poet and writer of the “Father Brown” detective stories, but in his own time known as a vigorous polemicist with an enthusiasm for apparent paradoxes. … Continue reading

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